His Royal Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan - Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) - opened the second session of the WTTC Conference this year. Entitled ‘Global perspectives - changing priorities’, the discussion touched on topics His Royal Highness and the ADTA have become industry experts in.In order to realise the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, the continued execution of the grand design envisaged by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the ongoing evolution of Abu Dhabi as a global capital city, the ADTA conceived the Urban Structure Framework Plan: “Plan Abu Dhabi 2030”. Presenting a coherent picture for the future of Abu Dhabi, the plan outlines ways the city will continue to grow, taking advantage of global opportunities whilst establishing the UAE’s national capital as an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable metropolis.
At the recent ‘Building A Sustainable Future: Trends, Opportunities, and Challenges’ conference, held on February 13th at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace, HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan spoke of the Abu Dhabi government’s complete commitment to sustainability. The conference, organised by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a non-profit research and educational organisation dedicated to responsible land use, was addressed by some of the world’s leading sustainability experts.
His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan told delegates, “You will be encouraged to hear that the [Plan Abu Dhabi 2030] calls for the protection and enhancement of Abu Dhabi’s natural environment as fundamental to development. It also calls on us to pursue green building standards in design and construction, and to pursue sustainable technologies for the management of energy, waste and water. The political will to pursue sustainability is there at the highest level.”
Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 promises to catalyse tourism, economic and industrial growth throughout the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as well as influencing the development of the six neighbouring Emirate states. As the largest contributor to the UAE’s state budget, approving US$7.7billion in 2007, a population of 1.46 million and a per-capita GDP exceeding US$68,000, the Abu Dhabi Emirate stands amongst the world’s wealthiest city-states such as Luxembourg, Ireland and United States. The responsibility exercised by Abu Dhabi and its capital, therefore, is of enormous value for the global market - a market that, over the coming decades, Abu Dhabi will undoubtedly have a leading influence upon.
This influence extends out of the industry boardroom and onto the world stage. As an economy built by modern initiatives and on sound environmental understanding, Abu Dhabi is in a privileged position to avoid the mistakes more established economies have made in the past. With its top position in economic global markets, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority senses that in time its experience in sustainable development will become indispensible. Abu Dhabi has a quarter of a century left to achieve its goals, and yet, looking at the city today, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the future of travel and tourism has already arrived.
Career profile: HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan Chairman - Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority
Born in the United Arab Emirates in 1970, Sheikh Sultan is qualified as an architect engineer from the UAE University. He continued his studies in the USA, gaining his MA in Economic Studies, with a major in International Relations, from Tufts University.
Sheikh Sultan is a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family and was appointed Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) on its establishment in September 2004. He is the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Authority (ADACH). In Al Ain, the capital of the Eastern Region, Sheikh Sultan is also Under Secretary at the Court of the Ruler’s Representative for the region. He was also Chairman of the Al Ain Economic Development and Tourism Promotion Authority.
Sheikh Sultan holds a number of official positions including Chairman of the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Chairman of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC). He is also a Board Member of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE. He recently became a member of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi Emirate.
In his role as Chairman of TDIC, Sheikh Sultan has been personally involved in the direction of the transformation of Saádiyat Island and the emergence of its now world-renowned Cultural District - which will be home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Sultan is also patron of the Middle East Council of the Urban Land Institute - the international, non-profit research and educational organisation catering to professionals in land use and real estate development.
Career profile: HE Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi Director General - Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority
HE Mubarak Al Muhairi completed his studies in Civil Engineering at the UAE (United Arab Emirates) University before going on to earn his master’s degree in Engineering Management at Portland State University in the USA. He worked for several years in real estate investment with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, ADIA. He was then appointed Director General of Al Ain Economic Development & Tourism Promotion Authority, a government body responsible for the marketing and development of the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi.
HE Al Muhairi was appointed Director General of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, ADTA on its creation in September 2004. Working closely with the Authority’s Chairman, H.E. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, he has wide ranging responsibilities for the promotion and development of the emirate’s tourism sector. He is holding various board member positions with authorities such as ADACH, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, ADNEC, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, and ADMC (Abu Dhabi Media Company).
The creation in April 2005 of the ‘Tourism Development and Investment Company’, TDIC, saw HE Al Muhairi take on the additional role as Managing Director, where he oversees the creation of many prestigious Abu Dhabi development projects.